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Estrangement

Need some advice and guidance

(84 Posts)
lily09 Sun 14-May-23 18:34:05

Dear all
I am hoping someone can advise me.I fear that I am about to lose my relationship with my Grandchild. We are a 2 adult family who are estranged. I know how badly this can affect a child.
I am estranged from my adult Dtr. Has always been a very difficult fit. She is 33 with an 11 yr old. It’s been almost 4 yrs.
She took offence when I didn’t see her in the street and that was that. I have been smeared for years. I never defended myself to others and stopped trying to mend the fracture between us. It’s beyond repair.

child’s Mother let her come to me every weekend and holidays as she’s single and it suited her. The child and I were always like peas and carrots.

Fast forward through the many reports of being treated badly by the child I held my tongue and tried to guide her and look after her whilst she is here. I looked up parental alienation as I knew my anger may seep out. I tried but of course I failed to hide my resentment. I did not purposefully try to turn her against her Mother. I was fighting the urge to call the authorities a lot of the time.
The child told me of drinking, not being able to sleep as there are parties. Her Mother mistreating her, isolation, controlling and punishing behaviour. Identical to the treatment I got. Her Mother was going to leave her to go out for the evening and I asked the child’s permission to intervene. She is 11 and can’t be left. Her Mother is regularly so drunk she passes out. She showed me reams and reams of berating messages. I explained as best I could that her Mother was being like a teen but she loved her but clearly I failed. I was obviously participating in alienation without realising. She said she overheard her Mother saying she preferred it when she wasn’t at home.

I kept contact to a minimum with her Mother to avoid abuse that follows any communication.

So she sent the child for a 3 day sleepover when she went abroad. She messaged lying that she had the fight wrong. The child told me it was a lie as her friends Mum who went with her was in the right flight. She was caught in the lie. I was so mad at my Daughter. I did not hide my anger. I was totally back footed and exhausted .So there were emails blaming me for her having to lie because I am the problem. My whole existence was trashed in reams of emails. I didn’t respond. One thing that stuck out was “I know you will never have her again if I go abroad”

Child came last weekend and was really off. I put it down to the situation and hormones. She said she took a sip of cola and the little cola bottle was full of vodka. She said her Mother was ruined when she returned from her girls holiday and slept all week. She ate well as she always does. I live to cook but nothing was enough. I let it slide and took her home.Then the email came the next evening.

She said the child came home hungry and broke down when she offered her toast.

Apparently the child said there was no food in the house and that all I talk about is food which in itself makes no sense. She told her Mother things I had said in response to her telling me about home saying she was being interrogated by me which is not true. Things were all enmeshed with the reports she made to me of her Mother giving her sandwiches for dinner and lunch.

My Daughter detailed their idyllic home life which I know is not true. I am warned that her child will not develop an eating disorder because I am too focused on food.

I am not allowed to mention food but was told the child wouldn’t be coming this weekend. Apparently the child said I disliked it when she spoke to friends which again is absolutely not true. She spent a day and a night in her room. I said she needs to have a cut off time as she’s barely spoken to me over 2 days.

It’s not about food. I have messed up somewhere. My heart feels guilt and fear. My head says that for 12 yrs I have been there for her in the most trying of times. I have searched my soul trying to do the right thing by her.

One wrong move and I will lose the child but I am not allowed to speak to the child about the things she is saying.

I have thought of stopping the sleepovers but then my Dtr will have no use for me and may yank the child away.

Can anyone please advise?

VioletSky Wed 17-May-23 16:13:52

Lylelyle I too place great importance on teaching my children about healthy boundaries and relationships and we are all very close too.

I never take that for granted either, I am always accountable to them and I think that good communication is very much part of the closeness we have.

lyleLyle Wed 17-May-23 16:19:34

VioletSky

Lylelyle I too place great importance on teaching my children about healthy boundaries and relationships and we are all very close too.

I never take that for granted either, I am always accountable to them and I think that good communication is very much part of the closeness we have.

It makes a world of a difference, doesn’t it? I think you nailed the key parts here. Respect, healthy boundaries, open communication, and two way accountability. What I’ve learned as a gran is that these things become even more important later in life.

OP I am sure loves her daughter. As a gran I feel that even her missteps were out of love, even if misguided. But sometimes we must dig deep and put the mum in us aside and realize that our offspring will not always receive our intervention the way we intend. These are the moments you go back to those principles you stated above.

VioletSky Wed 17-May-23 16:25:56

I agree Lylelyle

If there is evidence of harm social services must be called. As adults we should never promise to keep secrets for a child, their welfare comes first, even should that place our relationship with them in jeopardy.

It's also important to consider that if grandchild is complaining to gran about mum and mum about gran... They aren't happy in either situation

Determining why that is, by listening to those complaints is paramount for this child

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 16:26:20

No one's describing their own child as a weapon or a tool VS, these are being used to describe how some parents use their own children.

I agree that it can be beneficial to listen to estranged children, just as it can be beneficial to listen to estranged parents and grand parents if trying to reconcile or understanding the loss.

I've never heard a parent say that either lyleLyle and it isn't only here on GN that you see the opinion that sometimes children are being used this way. I've seen it on other sites and in literature on the subject too.

Just because we've never heard a parent say they are or would do this, doesn't mean no parent ever does.

As I've already explained, I bought up my own situation as an example of how the same or similar situation can be dealt with differently. It was certainly not a criticism of you or anyone else anymore than I'm sure your reference to parent/GP's behaviour in terms of what's being discussed here as precipitating their estrangements, was intended as a criticism of me or anyone else.

This is so confrontational if it is and I don't agree that it is, it's no more confrontational than some other posts that have been made VS.

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 16:29:56

Indeed. ^Respect, healthy boundaries, open communication and two way accountability are so important and even with all of them in place, relationships can and do fall apart.

VioletSky Wed 17-May-23 16:30:20

Smileless

I have carefully given my advice, it is different to yours but I think that's ok

lyleLyle Wed 17-May-23 16:31:01

Smileless,

As I said, a distasteful classification used by the begrudged party. Your post doesn't change that.

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 16:31:14

Has anyone said it isn't OK VS?

lyleLyle Wed 17-May-23 16:32:23

Smileless2012

Indeed. ^Respect, healthy boundaries, open communication and two way accountability are so important and even with all of them in place, relationships can and do fall apart.

Then they were likely meant to. People have a right to make choices for their lives.

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 16:32:26

I can see that my post doesn't change your point of view lyleLyle but it is after all just your point of view, and mine is mine.

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 16:33:36

Yes people have the right to make choices for their lives, but it doesn't make it any easier when they make choices that do them and others harm.

VioletSky Wed 17-May-23 16:35:11

Smileless2012

Has anyone said it isn't OK VS?

I can't see any benefit to a back and forth with you

lyleLyle Wed 17-May-23 16:35:41

Life isn’t easy. People still have a right to choose what’s best for them and their children.

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 16:37:22

I agree lyleLyle but from the information given by the OP I don't agree that her GD's mother is doing what's best for her or her child.

VioletSky Wed 17-May-23 16:41:24

I think it's best for SS to make that judgement.

We all have the power and actually the obligation to report concerns though

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 17:14:00

The OP's reluctance to contact SS is understandable bearing in mind their lack of response to another family's situation she referred too earlier.

Her D has already told her GD that if she's mean to her, she wont be involved in their lives so lily's really between a rock and a hard place. Wanting to protect her GD and to not want to be in a position where she can't even see her and at least provide her with somewhere safe and secure some of the time.

It's always the children who suffer the most.

VioletSky Wed 17-May-23 17:25:16

Then OP needs reassurance it is the right thing to do Smileless if the situation is as she describes

The other option is to do nothing about it because OP does not have a healthy relationship with the daughter and believes the relationship beyond repair so cannot get her daughter any help and support directly.

There are many many success stories of SS and other organisations working together to safeguard children and the good far outweighs the bad

lyleLyle Wed 17-May-23 17:26:41

The OP is one side of the story. Her daughter I’m sure has another. Whether or not anyone on this site thinks the daughter is doing the right thing here is irrelevant. We’re strangers who don’t know that woman or her child. Never spoke a word to them, so it matters not. As I said, social services can determine the danger here. The involvement by the OP with the granddaughter is currently not being received well, and that’s about the only objective point that can be made. So she needs to back off a bit.

And no, as much as many grans love to use the idea to comfort themselves, the children are not always suffering with these separations. That generalization cannot be made, least of all in cases where you don’t know the parties involved from a hole in the wall.

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 17:29:31

She's been estranged from her D for 4 years so she's unlikely to be able help and support her directly.

I'm sure the OP is as aware as we are of SS success stories but it's not that easy when it's your GD and you believe rightly or wrongly that if you contact them, all contact with your GD will be lost.

VioletSky Wed 17-May-23 17:32:36

Not reporting known concerns to the authorities is actually negligence

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 17:38:02

No one's said that children always suffer if separated from their GP's lyleLyle but it stands to reason that some will, especially where GP's have given years of childcare.

We've had posts here on GN from adults who were not allowed to see GP's resulting in all contact being lost and say how this still saddens them.

It also works the other way, that some parents may use the idea that their children wont miss their GP's in order to comfort themselves.

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 17:41:03

As I said VS, it's not that easy when you're the one directly involved.

VioletSky Wed 17-May-23 17:50:35

You've had experience of this Smileless?

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 18:24:08

Yes with my mum VS. She had mental health problems and after my brother moved in with her, her living conditions deteriorated to the extent that he wouldn't let me in the house.

He was out one evening and one of mum's neighbours contacted me saying she was extremely distressed so I went through. I hadn't seen her for about 2.5 years and the house was filthy and mum very unkempt. It was a terrible shock and extremely distressing.

I managed to track my brother down and when he knew I was there he was furious. I knew if I contacted adult SS's that would probably be the end of our relationship but felt I had no choice.

He never spoke to me again and from what one of his friend's told me, he never passed on cards I sent mum for her birthday, mother's day and Christmas.

She died in 2021. She'd been in hospital for 3 days and I never knew. My cousin 'phoned me at 8.30 am to tell me he'd asked her to tell me mum had died, there was no money for a funeral and if we didn't pay he'd have to contact SS.

We paid of course. He didn't attend and we haven't spoken since that night.

Smileless2012 Wed 17-May-23 18:25:24

She probably thought I didn't care about her, but nothing could have been further from the truth.